Pricing Across the Transportation Modes


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Trucking
The trucking industry eked out a 0.17% increase in transaction prices from July to August. That meager average price hike was because long-distance TL companies pushed their average prices up 0.4% from a month ago and up 2.5% from August 2009 levels. LTL prices also increased 0.09% from a month ago, but remained 0.19% below a year ago. A business cycle turnaround in pricing already clearly happened for TL carriers in the second quarter of 2009 when prices increased 3% from a year earlier. That's in sharp contrast to the 8.7% year-ago price cut that TL truckers reported in Q2 of 2008. Our latest forecast sees TL prices up 1.8% in 2010 and 2.3% in 2011. LTL tags are forecast to be up 0.5% in 2010 and 3% in 2011.






 

Air
The average price for flying cargo and mail on scheduled U.S.-owned airline flights increased 0.1% from a month ago. That left prices up 11.4% from the recession-scarred low of August 2009. Taking back only a portion of the 16.8% one-month price hike that cargo planes reported in July, U.S.-owned cargo planes, meanwhile, cut their prices from a month ago by 7.1% in August. That left air cargo prices still 18.5% above year-ago levels. Because of the unexpectedly strong price ramp-up so far this year, our new annual inflation rate forecast for air cargo transportation prices (on scheduled flights) has been raised slightly to 8.8% in 2010 and lowered slightly to 2.8% in 2011.






 

Water
Average prices for shipping on inland waters increased 2.8% in August on the heels of a 2.9% hike in July. Excluding inland waterways towing, which increased only 0.8% from July to August, then inland waterways prices actually registered a one-month 3.1% increase and same-month-year-ago price jump of 15.5% in August. So, even though August also saw a 2.2% decline in coastal and intercoastal freight transport, no change in deep sea prices of U.S.-owned companies, and a 0.7% hike in Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway freight transportation, we've raised the aggregate water transportation price forecast to 8.4% in 2010 and 5.5% in 2011.






 

Rail
Less than stellar economic conditions have helped to put fresh pressure on rail operators. After rising for 14 straight months, overall rail rates edged down 0.67% in August. Rates for carload service led the path downward by slipping 0.62%, following two consecutive months of price hikes. Intermodal rail rates weren't far behind, down 0.58%, but that one followed June and July price declines. In aggregate, the rail industry pushed transaction prices up 4.6% from year-ago levels. Ever since hitting a deflationary low point in Q2 of 2009, rail prices have been growing on a fairly predictable trajectory. We now forecast a 5.1% annual price hike by the time 2010 closes and another 4.6% increase in 2011.


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Article Topics

Air Cargo · Freight · Railroad · Transportation · All Topics
Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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